In a small conference room at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington yesterday, Human Life International president Father Shenan J. Boquet said he is working with American bishops on a letter to President Trump in hopes that the Trump administration will expand the Mexico City Policy and “hopefully rid” United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funding for contraceptive programs abroad.
Boquet was speaking at a public event co-sponsored by anti-LGBTQ group C-FAM to promote the group’s work lobbying the Organization of American States, which met this week.
“I often meet with the Secretary of State’s office in the Vatican and part of what I do is bring some of the experiences that I have, that we have in the field, to the attention of those in authority. It’s not so much to tell on someone but to bring information so that those in authority can make a decision or be informed about what’s happening,” Boquet said.
He said that he is working “with a couple of American bishops” on a letter to President Trump aimed at halting USAID’s financing of international programs that offer or provide education about contraceptive care. Since Trump was inaugurated, his administration has reinstated and expanded a “global gag rule”—also known as the Mexico City Policy—that prohibits the federal government from providing U.S. family planning aid to nongovernmental organizations that offer abortion procedures or provide information about the procedure. More recently, the administration has applied a similar policy to federal family planning funding for American groups that provide access and information to abortion procedures.
Boquet said, “I’m working with a couple of American bishops on a letter to President Trump and it’s all on the contraceptive issue. This is what I spoke to the ambassador about this morning. Because we all know that the whole abortion industry begins on the foundation of the contraceptive issue. So, if we can limit and diminish—hopefully rid—USAID of pushing this agenda, again, that’s a structure of influence, which is very important. That’s not going to happen like this, but if we can begin, like he’s doing now, with the Mexico City policy and even extending it, strengthening it, right, this is an opportunity right now under President Trump that we have not had and we should take advantage of this to its fullest degree.”
Boquet urged activists to document cases where USAID projects are connected to abortion and contraception services so that he and his allies can bring it to the attention of “those in authority.”
“So, without getting yourselves in trouble, is if you see anything with US aid and it’s connected with something connected to contraception or you see it connected to something in abortion—pictures, details, names, story. These are things that help because then you can document and you can bring it to the attention of others,” Boquet said.
He added, “We want to keep exposing the issues in a respectful and confidential way.”
Human Life International and C-FAM work together at the United Nations and in other international settings, partnering with repressive governments to try to keep any recognition of abortion rights or LGBTQ rights out of international agreements.